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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL)

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Rep. Nelson's statement on House Republican Transportation Bill

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SAINT PAUL, MN – Late Tuesday night, Minnesota House Republicans passed a Transportation package by a vote of ___.  The bill, House File 4, provides $6.6 billion of the $12 billion of investments needed for the state’s roads and transit infrastructure.  The bill relies on borrowing, shifts, and drastic cuts to Metro Transit services.  H.F. 4 provides funding for only 1.5% of needed rail safety improvements.  Upon voting against the bill, Rep. Nelson released the following statement:

“I’m hearing lots of concern from people in Brooklyn Park about the increased rail traffic and the risks that oil trains could bring to our community,” said Rep. Nelson, “and in light of what’s happening with the railroads in Crystal, this just isn’t a serious proposal for making our community safer.”

H.F. 4 cuts Metro Transit by $110 million at a time when the state is facing a $2 billion projected surplus.  “Middle-class Minnesotans are just recovering from the Great Recession.  Why would we reduce access to jobs and increase congestion?  Does anyone seriously think that’s good for our economy?” asked Rep. Nelson.

On the Republican proposal to use $1.3 billion in new debt to pay for roads, Rep. Nelson said, “Using debt to pay for things sometimes makes sense when it’s a one-time purchase, but repairing and maintaining our roads is an ongoing expense.  Regular families know it’s a bad idea to pay for groceries with a credit card, by the time you’ve paid it off you’ve long eaten them.  It’s not like Minnesota gets reward points every time we max out the state’s credit card.”